The Best Paris Cabarets
In the late 19th century, as Baron Haussmann dramatically reshaped the face of Paris, a new type of cabaret began appearing. A hybrid of café-concert, dance hall and theatre shows, this novel nightlife was centred in the Montmartre neighbourhood, and soon all of Paris was flocking there to enjoy the hedonistic fun. These cabarets drew many of the major artists of the era, from Aristide Bruand to Van Gogh, Verlaine, and Toulouse-Lautrec. The pioneer was the Moulin Rouge in Pigalle, which, from 1889, revolutionised the Paris scene with its fantastical dance reviews and famous French Cancan. It was soon followed by legendary names like the Lido, the Crazy Horse and the Paradis Latin. Today, the doyennes of the scene, these spaces are still renowned for their cabaret shows, which combine exceptional French cuisine and world-class performers. Here’s a round-up of the top Paris cabarets, for an evening of unequivocally French entertainment!
The Paris of yesteryear
The Moulin Rouge, created by Joseph Oller in Pigalle in 1889, is still a star of the Paris cabaret circuit. It was here that Parisians gathered to wildly applaud La Goulue, the establishment's most celebrated cancan dancer. Today, over one hundred years later, the ritual each evening is the same: as soon as the opening of Offenbach's famous music sounds out, dancers in tricolour skirts burst onto the stage and throw themselves into the frenetic French cancan that brought the cabaret its fame.
Immortalised by Baz Luhrmann in his 2001 film " Moulin Rouge; the cabaret and its current review “Féerie” Show remain an emblem of Montmartre. And its devilish rhythms and sumptuous dinners still have the power to plunge you back to the era of Belle Époque Paris.
Make your reservation at the Moulin Rouge
Cabaret of marvels
Created in 1946 by Joseph and Louis Clerico on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées, the Lido has been enchanting audiences from around the world for more than 70 years. Its sublime BlueBell Girls, and their magical shows, are still the stars of this shimmering, golden setting.
Created by Franco Dragone, director of the Cirque du Soleil, the current "Paris Marvels" review celebrates the City of Light in a show that mixes acrobatics, dance, singing and ice-skating! The spectacle can be enjoyed on its own, or accompanied by a delicious dinner.
Red with pleasure
At the Crazy Horse, opened in 1951 off the Champs-Élysées by Alain Bernardin, red is the defining motif: colouring the velvet-lined walls, the soles of the Crazy Girls' iconic Christian Louboutin stilettos, and evoking the erotic elegance of its reviews.
The distinctive Crazy Horse touch is the incredible play of light on the dancers’bodies. The cabaret’s most recent review, Totally Crazy, created by Philippe Decouflé, cheekily revisits some of the house’s legendary numbers. A mischievous show, to be enjoyed with a glass of Champagne in hand, before or after dinner, beside the most beautiful avenue in the world.
The stunning décor of the Paradis Latin, located a stone's throw from Notre-Dame Cathedral, is almost as dazzling as what's on stage. Today, this magnificent theatre, designed in 1889 by Gustave Eiffel, stages a flamboyant, exciting show that combines breathtaking circus acts, modern ballet and the French Cancan.
Our inside tip
If you want to see the mythic La Goulue in action, head to the Musée d’Orsay to admire the canvases of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, an original Moulin Rouge regular, who managed, like no other, to capture the electric atmosphere of the cabarets of Belle Époque Paris.
Our suggestions for outings in Paris Region.